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on January 4, 2012
In 2011 alone, I've purchased the entire Kelby collection, an assortment of Peterson's books, Freeman's collection (which, to be fair, are geared more toward the "art and psychology" side of photography than meant as any sort of style guide or how-to), and a host of others, but Long's Complete Digital Photography is easily my favorite book of the lot of 'em. It's more than just a basic photography book - this thing is a DSLR Bible that covers virtually every aspect of the art and science of digital photography. Prior to receiving this book, I'd watched a series of videos featuring Long, and really enjoyed his plain-English teaching style as well as his infectious sense of humor as it makes going back over the "basics" (I actually studied photography in college, back in "ye ol' film days")a breeze, and learning more advanced techniques less daunting. While several of my books from some of the "bigger" names in photography have either been returned for store credit at Amazon or given away to fellow noobs to the world of DSLR photography, Long's book is one I'll be sure to keep around for regular reference, and it's the one I recommend to anyone who asks me what I think is the most comprehensive-yet-user-friendly resource on the subject. If you're new to the field or, like me, have been away so long that technology's passed you by, this is the book you need!
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on October 15, 2011
If I had to suggest a single book providing a Complete introduction to digital photography, I would have no doubt to go with this book. As an introduction it perfectly fits the need as it succeeds in covering virtually all of the topics faced when going digital (and not only) without leaving the impression of being too superficial. Of course it can be deemed to be Complete in absolute terms and in depth coverage of each single topic, that'd be impossible in a single book. One of the greatest pleasure of (digital) photography is that it's the sum of several broad topics that well worth being explored individually: if you think of Composition, Exposure, Lightning, Post-Production, you'll soon find that the literature provides dozens of books specifically dedicated to each of them. That's why putting all this together is a complex endeavor and requires a careful thinking and organization.

Going into some more detail about the book's organization, I particularly appreciated the underlying idea. So much that I couldn't tell it better than the author himself: "[...] we've been studying the theory behind all the different parameters that affect the creation of an image, as well as the controls that you have for manipulating those parameters. I have been calling this the craft of photography. Photographic artistry is the process of using these craft skills to represent a scene--whether it's a portrait, still life, event, landscape, or abstract--in a way that evokes some of what the subject makes you feel." And indeed, as an amateur, I feel the compelling need to improve in both, something in which the book proved helpful. Moreover, I was completely new to post production and through this book I got the necessary fundamentals. As rough figures, keep into account the book has the first 300 pages about dedicated to everything involved in getting the image in your camera and some 270 following pages talking about images management and post-production. It's not everything you should know about this, but they're definitely enough to start with.

On the specifics, it was kind of a very appreciated surprise reading the topic in the first chapter ("Eyes, Braing, Light and Images", i.e. how we see) as well as the chapter on composition and the idea that to improve in this the first need is to Learn to See (or gain back again this lost capability we had as children). As a computer scientist, of course I found interesting the coverage of the technological aspects that lie behind the whole process of acquiring an image.

Looking for similar books, my personal experience has brought in my hands two other interesting books, namely Dickman and Kinghorn's Perfect Digital Photography(Second edition) and Michael Freeman's Pro Photographer's D-SLR Handbook (A Lark Photography Book), which would respectively be my second and third in place alternatives. (Note however that Michael Freeman easily gets back on the throne with his other many excellent books, including bestsellers like The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos and The Photographer's Mind: Creative Thinking for Better Digital Photos).
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I've just finished reading this book. In general, this is wonderful resource of digital photography craft for somebody who has no previous knowledge and some skills in this industry. After reading and practicing all the skills and knowledge I've got from the following book resources: "The Digital Photography Books" - 1,2,3,4 Boxed Set by Scott Kelby, "Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS5" by Jeff Schewe and Bruce Fraser, "Understanding Exposure" 3rd edition by Bryan Peterson, "Speedliter's Handbook" and "Lighting for Digital Photography" by Syl Arena, "the Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers" by Scott Kelby and "Photoshop's LAYERS" 2nd Edition by Matt Kloskowski, I have not got anything new to improve my skills. However, it's just me who already has enough skills in digital photography to produce professional quality photographs even using my old Canon EOS 20D and 580EX Speedliter plus a few additional accessories. I found some contradictions in this book comparing with other authors, like Mr. Ben Long was suggesting using P (Program) mode quite often, well, most professional digital photographers almost never use P mode. This book includes references to point and shoot compact cameras too, so again, people who already buy photography books usually own DSLRs and they are serious about quality in their photography. In addition, I've noticed that author was inclined to underexposing his images to preserve highlight details. It may be true for some cases, however, I remember reading that when you underexposing and losing shadow details, the lightening editing process introduce noise in your shadow because you are stretching that little data of shadows and compressing a lot of data in your midtones and highlights. Also, it was said in the previous books I've read that it was always better to darken your photo than to lighten it. Otherwise, this book deserves full 4 stars and may be even more for a beginner.
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on April 28, 2011
I received this book shortly after ordering it from Amazon.com. I recently purchased a new Canon Rebel T2i digital slr camera. I bought a couple books on this specific camera, which were both fine, but I also wanted a book that would teach me about the entire gamut of the digital photography world. After reading reviews on this book, I decided to buy one. It is without a doubt one of the best and most comprehensive books available on the market to cover this topic. If I could only have one book on digital photography, this one would be the one. It has 22 comprehensive chapters covering the theory and practice of photography, cameras, workflow, and several very detailed chapters on how to modify your pictures with Adobe Photoshop. Why spend money on an expensive correspondence course or online class when you can get all the information you need from this book? It is not the kind of book that you can read in one sitting, with your feet up and sipping a glass of wine. However, if you are a good reader and read this book in sections as your photography skills develop, you will become a better and more knowledgeable photographer. I would recommend it for the motivated individual, or as a textbook for someone teaching photography. It is an excellent selection and one of the best that I have seen. It also has an excellent website with lots of good information available. Buy it and put it to use, you will not be disappointed.
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on October 19, 2005
Complete Digital Photography offers a lot for it's intended audience, entry through intermediate level digital photography experience.

If you have not owned a digital camera, or your experience is limited to the more simple point and shoot cameras, and would like to understand enough to make an informed decision on a new digital camera you will find the information here to make a decision on the type of digital camera that will meet your needs and budget.

Once you own your digital camera Complete Digital Photography can serve as a thorough guide in how to shoot and edit your photos. This is not a camera specific manual. Combined with the manual that comes with your camera Complete Digital Photography will guide you through the issues and opportunities you will face when capturing images allowing you to get more out of what ever camera you have.

Complete Digital Photography also provides a guide to the selection and use of editing software, or the "digital darkroom". One of the most intriguing aspects of digital photography is the opportunity to get creative after you take the picture in a way that was just not possible for most shooters with film. there are many inexpensive, and expensive, digital editing programs available that anyone with a basic PC can take advantage of, Complete Digital Photography takes you through the options and provides a good overview of how to make your shots yours.

The included cd includes trial versions of many of the applications referenced in the book as well as sample files for the examples used in the book.

Someone with experience with digital SLRs and Photoshop will likely find this book a waste of time and will be looking for more specialised books that dig deeper into specific areas. For the vast majority of readers Complete Digital Photography will provide an interesting and thorough overview of digital photography.
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on September 6, 2006
I have purchased this book twice, it is an introduction to digital photography, particularly for the fixed lense Nikon SLR cameras (such as the 8700) and SLR digital cameras. If you have a simple point and click camera you will get some benefit from the book but not as much.

The book provides a photography primer, clearly explains terms, and gets the reader excited about taking pictures.

Additionally it discusses SLR and non SLR cameras, and digital photo processing using Photoshop (a good portion of this book is dedicated to this task, roughly 40%).

This is a great gift for the person just getting into digital photography or someone looking to expand their skills and knowledge.
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on August 15, 2011
I got started in photography fairly recently. I have watched all of Ben Long's videos on the lynda website and was excited to see he had a HUGE book that went more in depth to all his teachings.

The book is laid out in a very logic flow that introduces you to some background, teaches you the key terms, then starts into what makes a good picture and how to take one. He even goes into post processing techniques and printing techniques so it really it a start to finish sort of guide.

Along with the The Digital Photography Book, Volume 1, these two books should be required reading for everyone starting out in photography.
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on June 2, 2012
I highly recommend this book. It is well written, complete, and interesting to read. I recently got a Canon 60D and wanted books my wife and I could use to learn more about things. Along with this book, I also got Understanding Exposure by Peterson and Canon EOS 60D From Snapshots to Great Shots by Young. I thought that by getting a variety of books, I would have good coverage on just about everything. But if I had to get only one book, it would be this one.

This is the sixth edition of the book and as he writes in the Introduction, "With each new edition, I get more feedback about what does and doesn't work, in terms of instruction. Alongside this, my workshops and classroom instruction have continually helped me refine my teaching concepts. Consequently, there are changes and, what I hope are improvements, to explanations and discussions throughout this book."

Besides being well written, complete, and easy to read, the book is well made with thick, strong pages, containing good color illustrations. The captions on each illustration photo are complete descriptions and do not require going into the main text for explanation. This is an almost 600-page book, an inch and a half thick, and heavy in weight. This is a perfect book for beginning and intermediate students, as well as those that want to move on to more.
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on August 18, 2011
This book is incredible! It deserves nothing less than 5 stars! Ben Long's Complete Digital Photography is about as complete as complete can be! I don't think the author left a single stone unturned. The book is laid out well making the text easier to understand and follow. The author begins by detailing the differences between the way the human eye sees a scene and the way the camera sees that very scene. He then describes the different functions/features on digital cameras and how to use these functions/features to take better pictures or make things easier. After that a few chapters about the creative aspect of photography to teach you how to make your photographs more appealing. The remainder of the book has instructions and tutorials to teach you how to use Adobe Photoshop to edit your photographs and Adobe Bridge to help you organize, sort, evaluate and rank your photographs.

Before I read this book, I knew nothing about the different functions of digital cameras or how to use them effectively. But I also didn't have a full understanding of exposure and the different parameters that can be adjusted to fine tune exposures for a variety of scenes and/or situations. The author repeats several times throughout the book how the 4 adjustable elements related to a good exposure can be manipulated in a variety of situations. I feel that now I do have a good understanding of exposure. Now I just need to apply it to the variety of situations and make it part of me while most of it is still fresh in my memory.

This book is a fantastic value. It's full of a lot of knowledge and experience being offered at a great low price!
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on January 15, 2015
Much like a textbook, this book will walk you through your digital camera. It starts off by explaining the workings of the camera and progresses to using all the features your digital camera offers. I was just starting to experiment with digital photography (and had only a limited background with film photography) when I purchased this book and I still use it as a reference.
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